According to a statement issued on March 24th, ZA Bank, a unit of China’s ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., has now begun operations in Hong Kong. The new bank’s services will include lending and a deposit account with an annual interest rate of 1%.
ZA Bank was one of the first financial institutions to be granted a virtual banking license by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in March last year.
Eight in total, the other virtual banking licences were issued to:
- Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial
- Insight Fintech – a joint venture between Xiaomi and AMTD Group)
- Infinium – a consortium led by Tencent
- Livi VB – another joint venture between Bank of China HK, JD Digits, and Jardines
- Standard Chartered’s SC Digital
- Ping An One Connect – a unit of Mainland China’s insurance giant PingAn
- Home-grown Fintech WeLab
The rise of online-only banks is a phenomenon that has been expanding across Asia over the past few months. For instance, at the beginning of the year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced it had received more than 20 applications for its digital banking licenses, to be issued in 2020.
As consumers become more accustomed to digital-only banking across Asia and Europe, a growing number of financial institutions will need to implement remote onboarding and compliance processes to deliver a smooth customer experience while protecting their business from fraud and money laundering.
When implemented correctly, RegTech solutions are able to – among other things – guide consumers every step of the way, deliver customised messages triggered by specific actions, extract information from uploaded documents, perform on-going monitoring to avoid repeated requests for information, and utilise algorithms to reduce the number of false positives over time. This allows compliance teams to focus on complex cases instead of spending precious time on manual tasks that can be easily automated.
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